ATHENS – Greece on Thursday became the latest European country to impose further restrictions on unvaccinated citizens amid rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
As of Monday, people without a vaccine certificate will be excluded from indoor venues such as cinemas, theaters and gyms. They were already not allowed in restaurants, bars and cafes. Unvaccinated people will still be able to enter certain important indoor shops, such as pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as go to church, despite the Greek Church suggesting that negative test results are required to enter.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in a televised speech announcing the new rules that his plan was that the country “should have a better Christmas this year than last year” and called on the Greeks to “vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate” . “
About 62 percent of Greece’s total population has so far been vaccinated – below the EU average of about 66 percent – and the number has stagnated in recent months.
Mitsotakis also announced that those over 60 who are eligible for a booster shot must receive one within the next month, otherwise their immunization certificates will become invalid seven months after receiving their first vaccines.
He added that he would write to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, proposing that the EU’s digital COVID-19 passport also be conditional on booster shots after six months, “to avoid any crack in the wall of immunity, which has already been built. on our continent. ” France also said last week that their coronavirus passports would be conditional on booster shots for those eligible to receive them over 65 years of age.
The new measures also include staggered working hours for people in both the private and public sectors to avoid congestion, especially during rush hour and on public transport, while controls will be increased: Mitsotakis said the Greek authorities will carry out random checks to ensure the rules are applied .
Private doctors will be called in to support the national health system, which has been under extreme pressure as the number of daily infections hit record highs this month.
“This is truly a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Mitsotakis said. “Greece is mourning unnecessary losses because it simply does not have vaccination rates in other EU countries.”